Dec 10, 2011

All Your Reindeer Armies: A Rudolph Review

Am I the only one who is forced to watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer almost constantly this season?

I have fond memories of the show.  I do.

But here's some things I've noticed that I just can't keep to myself:
  • The song Santa sings just after Rudolph is born.  A little self-serving when the Donner Family has just had a new baby reindeer.
  • Why does Rudolph announce to the world that Clarice thinks he's cute?   Maybe that works for Reindeers, but I can tell you right now, it's best avoided for humans.  "I'm cute!  She said I'm cute!"
  • The elven song that they say they've been working hard on.  Santa's reply?  "Well, it needs work- I've gotta go".  Wow.
  • In this same "flying"/mocking scene, Santa tells Donner he "should be ashamed"- why?  Because his son has just done the best flying of any of the young deer?
  • Rudolph with Clarice, post-incident:  "I wish... I wish..." he says.  But rather than waiting to hear what Rudolph (who has just had a traumatic experience) might wish for, Clarice feels the need to sing about tomorrow's dreams.
  • King Moonracer is awesome.
  • I'm a little confused by the Island of Misfit Toys.  What's wrong with a spotted elephant or a cowboy who rides an ostrich?  I guess this is put in simply to reinforce the message that society will tolerate NO deviations.  In relation to this island- what are they doing with the toys at the end of the show?  They certainly aren't delivering them to children.  Parachuting them- where?  The ocean, I suspect.
  • Here's the part where I begin (?) to sound a little crazy: Once Xmas is in danger of being cancelled, and they NEED a reindeer with a red nose, well, that's when everyone's tune begins to change.  Full Power, Rudolph!  In fact, Santa is in the middle of a diatribe against Rudolph's nose when he realizes it can be used to his advantage.  "Oh, Rudoloph!  That nose!  That... that...beautiful nose!"  The message?  Mock something and heap disdain upon it, that is, until you find it can benefit you.  Then flatter it.
  • Why does Rudolph so readily join in, anyway?  "Oh, okay- if you need me."  And Hermie, too?  Maybe there's just no other options at the North Pole?
As you can surely tell, I've seen this bit of clay-mation quite a few times too many.  It may be- is- time for some self-imposed moratorium on R. the R.N.R.  And I'm hardly arguing against watching this beloved holiday classic.  But it sure is a telling glimpse into the world of the people who made it, isn't it?


  1. I agree Rob. I used Rudolph in a sermon a few years back; I was just trying to see if I had the manuscript anywhere; some of the same points. Do we value people only when they are useful to us? How eager are we to fit in? All I can say is watching Ssnta in this show makes me think he shouldn't have gotten anything that year for Christmas.

  2. Thanks Carl. I was surprised to learn that this commenter was you. Hope you, Christine and the kids have a wonderful Christmas!